G’day! If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter then you know I just returned from an amazing trip to Australia. The whole thing feels like a dream, but I took tons of photos (below)—so I know it’s not!
Speaking of dreams…I was Down Under for the first two games (and Opening Day) of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, which took place between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. As the first MLB regular seasons games on Australian soil, they were a monumental, historic two games, and fittingly took place on the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground. I got goosebumps when they sang the Star-Spangled Banner, and believe it or not, so did the Aussie sitting next to me! How cool is that?
All the Australians I spoke to loved going to the game(s). One even told me that “it was a great cultural experience” since the minds behind it brought over not just baseball but many other American sporting traditions, like Kiss Cams, “Guess Which Hat,” the singing of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and more.
There was also plenty of “American” food which I thoroughly enjoyed documenting in my Dodgers vs Team Australia exhibition game post.
Below I’ve included my photos from Saturday night’s game one and Sunday’s matinee game two—which combined saw over 76,000 fans attend. Most of them were wearing Dodgers memorabilia, likely because of the glamour of Los Angeles, yet the crowd seemed to be rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Why? I can think of three possible reasons: 1) because Ryan Rowland-Smith (one of Arizona’s pitchers) is Australian, 2) because the D-Backs are the underdogs and 3) because Dodgers star pitcher/bigmouth Zack Greinke told reporters last month that there was “absolutely zero excitement” for their then-upcoming Australia trip.
For whatever reason, the Dodgers ending up leaving Greinke back in L.A. and starting South Korean lefthander Ryu Hyun-jin in game two. It was a smart move because there were tons of Koreans at the game—and because he gave up just two hits in five innings.
In game one, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, whose seven-year, $215 million contract earns him roughly one million dollars per start (which makes him the highest paid player in the majors), took the win.
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks both games (3-1 & 7-5) in the MLB season-opening series.
I think both managers did a great job of summing up the games. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was quoted as saying, “It’s historic and I think, for all of us involved, it’ll be something that we won’t forget.” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, meanwhile, said “This event was outstanding. We certainly would like to come back if we’re invited.” I feel the same way!
Good to know
According to Sports Illustrated, “This marks the seventh time in 16 years that Opening Day will take place abroad; previous hosts include Monterrey, Mexico (1999), Tokyo, Japan (2000, ’04, ’08, ’12), and San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001). The choice to open the season in Australia is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of an exhibition series between the White Sox and Giants, which was played in January 1914 as part of a 13-country barnstorming tour that itself was a 25th anniversary tribute to Albert Spalding’s famous 1889-90 world tour.”
What the Sydney papers are saying: